News & Event
April King Mascardo makes it a double for Philippines
Round 1 of the 2017 SUZUKI ASIAN CHALLENGE (SAC) saw one of the highest level of racing for the series in its history, with the riders from 9 countries racing in clean and fair, but close competition.
The Suzuki GSX-R150 single-platform category, came to its final day of Round 1, held in Johor Circuit, located in the southern part of Malaysia. The newly introduced GSX-R150 is a one-of-a-kind motorcycle in the 150cc market, bearing SUZUKI’s “GSX” brand, which is allowed for a genuine sports bike. Polesitter, third-year SAC veteran #16 April King H. Mascardo (Philippines) describing the GSX-R150 commented, “The GSX-R150 is to handle. Riding position has changed from the Satria F150, so it is now easier to lean the bike which leads to higher cornering speed. The Dunlop tires have more grip this year making it go faster for us.”
It was bright, hot, and humid, just like what people would expect in Johor during qualifying, but by the time Race 1 started, heavy rain took over the Johor sky. Mascardo’s teammate and also a third-year SAC veteran, #29 Mario Borbon Jr. won that race, making it a day for Team Philippines to celebrate.
Rain was forecasted for Sunday, but fortunately for the riders, Race 2 started in dry condition. Pole-sitter Mascardo took the whole shot, but a pack of eager-to-win riders followed right behind. #22 Eane Jaye Sobretodo (Philippines) took the lead from Mascardo, but most of the riders were still racing in a pack. In lap 2, Mascardo took the lead again, and while Sobretodo fought to take the lead back, #33 K.Y. Ahamed (India) oversped and hit Sobretodo, making them both crash, taking down #98 Muhammad Zulhilmi (Malaysia) with them. Others riders managed to avoid contact, but Mascardo who was running in front of the incident was already far gone.
While Mascardo took the lead with a big gap, the battle for P2 became intense as the race progressed. Positions changed rapidly until the finish line. Mascardo took the win, making it a double win for Philippines. #17 Tetsuya Fujita (Japan) came in 2nd, and ＃78 Punchana Kulrojchalalai.
Comparing this year with the laptimes made here last year by the Satria F150’s, the laptimes improved by almost 2 seconds, proving the potential of the Suzuki GSX-R150.
Round 2 of the SUZUKI ASIAN CHALLENGE, held as a part of the FIM Asia Road Racing Championship, is scheduled to be held 13-15 April at Chang International Circuit, located in Buriram, Thailand.
April King H. Mascardo | ＃16
“I couldn’t use my pole position an advantage in Race 1, so I concentrated in just looking at the front in Race 2. I made a good start and took the lead at start, but I wanted to see what the others are capable of doing, so I dropped back a bit in the opening lap. But I was kind of pushed up front again, so I just concentrated to maintain the lead. I didn’t notice that there was an incident behind me, but I am happy that I finished to win the race. It’s a new season, and we see many talented riders from many countries, and the competition is intense. It’s challenging, but it’s fun too. I am going to enjoy this season.”
Yukio Kagayama | General Manager
“I would like to thank all of you letting us make the third season happen. The riders experienced both wet and dry races in the season opener, and I believe that it would be a valuable experience for them. We were able to see the potential of the new Suzuki GSX-R150 in dry condition, so that was good too.
Both races were won by SAC experienced riders from the Philippines. Mario is currently leading the points ranking, but we are blessed with fast newcomers too, so I am looking forward to the new boys reach the veterans’ level and passing them.
Me and my staff will be preparing well for the next race at Thailand, and I ask for your continuous support for SAC.”
Shunji Yatsushiro | Rider Coach
“Race 2 was the first dry race for the GSX-R150. The start of the race was delayed for quite some time, but I am happy to see that the riders maintained their concentration until the race started, and were able to show us a really good race. The riders were agressive, but unfortunately some of the contenders crashed, so we saw April (Mascardo) run away with the win. However, the battle for P2 was an exciting one, and the riders showed us their skills in an agressive battle. I hope that the next round at Thailand would be just as exciting as well as clean.”